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Source: The New Security Beat (Blog hosted by Woodrow Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program)

Posted: July 3, 2008 

Guest Contributor Alex Fischer on Increasing Human Security through Water and Sanitation Services in Rural Madagascar

For the past several months, I have been working with a team of other researchers in partnership with WaterAid and Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs to find new techniques for measuring the benefits of improved water and sanitation in rural Madagascar. Studies of the impact of water and sanitation programs tend to focus on health treatment costs avoided and time saved obtaining water, but our field visits and analysis suggest that water and sanitation development projects can also improve food security, education, and local community governance, and may even introduce new forms of conflict resolution.

After our team's initial field visit to rural communities around Ambositra, a small commercial town several hours south of the capital, we decided to broaden our scope of analysis. We had noticed that livelihoods and community management were dramatically different in villages with clean water nearby and villages whose residents continued to walk long distances to sources of questionable quality.

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